Republican Pollsters: GOP Needs Immigration Reform to Win

Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014 09:36 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A team of top Republican pollsters has concluded that Republicans can generate a "more positive electoral environment" by embracing immigration reform, but the group's findings could be dampened by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's loss in Virginia's GOP primary.

The team of 16 pollsters from 10 firms, including some that have polled for tea party-related figures and groups, conducted two surveys for, a pro-reform group spearheaded by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, reports The Washington Post,  and plans to release a memo on its findings Wednesday.

The reforms would also include a pathway for citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the pollsters' group said.

However, Cantor's loss to tea party-supported college professor David Brat on Tuesday
came in part because of backlash over his support of a Republican-backed version of the "Dream Act," which would allow some immigrants who came to the United States as children to qualify for in-state college tuition rates.

In South Carolina, though, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham easily won his primary Tuesday while being part of a bipartisan effort to pass immigration reform.

The pollsters surveyed 800 Hispanic voters between May 27 and June 1, and another group of 800 voters, including an oversample of Republicans, from May 17 to 23.

In a memo shared with the Post, the pollsters said half of the Hispanic voters questioned blame Republicans for the reform efforts' failure to pass. In addition, 76 percent said they would listen to what Republicans say about other issues, as long as they support immigration reform.

Also the pollsters said the terms of a pathway to citizenship that's being embraced by reform advocates should help appease amnesty fears.

"There is a strong sentiment in the country that undocumented immigrants should not be granted amnesty," the pollsters said in their memo. "This immigration reform proposal addresses that issue by requiring that undocumented immigrants pay a fine, taxes owed, learn English, and wait at least 13 years until they can become citizens."

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